Quite a flap has occurred over what former U.S. President Jimmy Carter meant or didn’t mean by using the word apartheid in the title of his latest book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. No matter what Carter meant, it is clear the Israeli Zionists do not want to accommodate Palestinians and what the Israeli government is doing by building their walls is akin to re-ghettoizing its Jewish citizens.
In the current web-entry from Truthdig, http://www.truthdig.com/, Joshua Scheer interviews a longtime friend of mine, Stanley Sheinbaum about Carter’s book. In 1988, Sheinbaum led a delegation of five other prominent Jewish leaders to meet with Yasser Arafat. That meeting succeeded in getting Arafat to agree to renounce the use of terrorism and recognize Israel. For this, both Sheinbaum and Arafat were denounced as traitors by their respective ethnic communities. In Sheinbaum’s case some of his detractors threw dead pigs on the driveway of his Santa Barbara home to signify their belief he had betrayed Israel. To drive this attitude home David Ifshin, former legal counsel for the America Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), once said to me: ‘The day that Stanley Sheinbaum dies, the people of Israel will dance on his grave’.
In the Scheer interview, Sheinbaum stated the title of Carter’s book was unfortunate as it detracted attention from the serious questions Carter posed and diverted efforts from holding a serious debate about the current state of affairs in the Middle East. Furthermore, in my opinion, rather than get sidetracked by a lengthy discussion of what Carter meant by ‘apartheid’ we should concentrate more urgently on the growing link between Israeli Zionists, AIPAC, and born-again Christians – something Jimmy Carter has also written extensively about.
In a separate but a related vein, the current London Review of Books has an article by Corey Robin entitled ‘Dragon-Slayers’, in which he discusses the writings of Jewish philosopher and totalitarian theorist, Hanna Arendt. In it he quotes her as having said in the 1940s that without ‘Arab Jewish co-operation the whole Jewish venture [to create the State of Israel] is doomed' and that, ‘only [Zionist] folly could dictate a policy that trusts distant imperial power for protection, while alienating the goodwill of neighbours’. Robin states that by 1948, Arendt had come to oppose Zionist politics and that this opposition was rooted in three concerns: "the correspondence [Arendt] saw between Zionism and Fascism, the Zionists’ dependence on imperialism, and her growing awareness of what she called ‘the Arab question’."
Robin also cites a prescient article Arendt wrote in 1944, ‘USA – Oil – Palestine’, in which she held that the US foreign policy post WWII would be determined by its need to control the world’s oil supply. To see Robin’s entire article go to: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n01/print/robi02_.html.
I, for one, refuse to be labeled an anti-Semite when I highlight human rights abuses by the current Israeli government toward its fellow citizens and neighbors.